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Alexander the Great: The History and Legacy of Alexander The Great

Alexander the Great: The History and Legacy of Alexander The Great

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Alexander the Great: The History and Legacy of Alexander The Great

51 Seiten
43 Minuten
Jun 12, 2018


In the first authoritative biography of Alexander the Great written for a general audience in a generation, classicist and historian John C Martin tells the remarkable life of the great conqueror. The celebrated Macedonian king has been one of the most enduring figures in history. 

At eighteen Alexander had conquered mainland Greece, was crowned King of Macedonia at twenty and by twenty-six he had made himself master of the once mighty Persian Empire. By the time of his death, aged only thirty-three, in 323BCE he was ruler of the known world and was being worshipped as a god by the Greeks, both at Babylon, where he died, and further west, among the Greek cities of the Asiatic seaboard. The fruit of a lifetime's scholarship and meticulous research, this is an outstanding biography of one of the most remarkable rulers in history.

After a short account of Alexander's life before his landing in Asia Minor, the book gives a brief overview of the major stages of his conquest. This background sets the stage for a series of concise thematic chapters that explore the origins and objectives of the conquest; the nature and significance of the resistance it met; the administration, defense, and exploitation of the conquered lands; the varying nature of Alexander's relations with the Macedonians, Greeks, and Persians etc

Jun 12, 2018

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Alexander the Great - John C Martin




Throughout the preceding two millennia of historical inquiry, there are few figures who have received the attention that has been given to Alexander the Great. The sheer volume of sources available is staggering, written by men and women from all eras, ancient, medieval, and modern, and all with their own motivations and personal biases. Seeking to understand Alexander’s accomplishments and his character through these sources is a daunting task. 

A young man who conquered much of the known world before the age of thirty, he is a strong personality and leaves an enduring legacy. Much of who he was can be traced to his childhood, to heavy expectations and heroic backgrounds placed upon the young man, to a strong and ambitious mother, and to a renowned and successful father with major achievements.

Alexander grew up feeling that he had something to prove. That need for glory and recognition would drive him to great heights. Without his ambitious and engaging personality, it is questionable whether he could have held together such a massive kingdom, especially doing so at a very young age. Indeed, without his rule, the kingdom soon collapsed into warring factions.

The young king is best understood and known through the stories of his individual deeds. Here the stories are woven into the narrative context of his larger exploits, creating a picture of the young man who conquered Asia with bravery, skill, and deadly coldness. A man respected and loved by his army and respected and feared by his enemies. A man brought sometimes to tears and sometimes to violent anger. He is a man struggling to live up to the life that was expected of him.

The Genius Of Philip Of Macedon

My son, ask for thyself another kingdom, for that which I leave is too small for thee.

—Philip II of Macedon to his son Alexander

The ancient kingdom of Macedonia was one of rich, fertile lands and high mountains. To the north, south, and west it was encircled by mountains, and to the east by the Aegean Sea and Asia Minor. Mount Olympus was visible among the peaks to the south, and the Macedonian royals claimed direct descent from the gods. Life in Macedonia could be rugged, and the kingdom was surrounded by enemies and potential foes. The mounted warriors of Thessaly lay to the south, the barbarian tribes of Agrianians and Paeonians to the north, while the Illyrians lured in the west. It was to prove a testing ground for soldiers, producing the tough Macedonian phalanx that would be so effective in battle under Alexander and his father.

Alexander of Macedon took the kingdom of Macedonia and made it a world power, at the heart of an empire that stretched from Greece to India. But to build his empire, he stood on the shoulders of another Macedonian, his father, Philip. It was Philip who devised the weapon of the Macedonian phalanx that would prove so effective in battle after battle, and who secured the power base in Macedonia that would be Alexander’s springboard. To tell the story of Alexander the Great, it is necessary to tell the story of Philip first.

When Philip was fifteen years old, he was dispatched to the Greek city of Thebes as a royal hostage. This practice was commonplace and used as a means of securing peace between states and a guarantee that treaties made would be respected and held to. Philip spent the next three years in the household of the Theban general Pammenes. It was there that he was able to observe the tactics of Greek hoplite warfare.

The Greek hoplite was armed with a bronze

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